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Artwork: JSR '22
137

Vanitas

Author: CLC '22-'23
As seen in: The Proper Bostonians #

It gives me no joy to say that The Harvard Lampoon is in crisis. The magazine is figuratively tied to a railroad, and an increasingly svelte sequence of trains is about to make the magazine more flat than the average magazine. We are talking very flat, here.

The trains are heavy-handed representations of modernity. Time was when you could get a well-paying job by simply having a name as funny as “G. Gordon Liddy.” These days, the abstract concepts of merit and diligence weigh very heavily on whether to give someone creative control over a book or television show. Textile mills barely figure into employment decisions. This is patently bad.

Consider the following two selections from the Lampoon’s own writers room. Their qualities speak for themselves.

1876 – Interior, Lampoon Writing Nook
G. GORDON LIDDY: Take my wife—
LAMPOON STAFFER: That isn’t very funny, Gordie.
G. GORDON LIDDY: Please!

2022 – Interior, DMV, Lampoon Branch
LAMPOON CLERK: Ticket number 74?
MAXWELL, MY FRIEND: I have an idea for a piece about this horrible game show host. Just a really bad, unpleasant person. “Disgusting” would be a fitting word here.
LAMPOON CLERK: I don’t see proof of residence in these documents.

Observant readers will say: what is to be done? Can anything stop a magazine’s knees from bending under the weight of its own greatness? And where can I find the lowest prices on groceries without compromising on quality?

The answers are as follows: (1) nothing; (2) lifting from the legs; and (3) Morton’s Grocery Store. The Morton’s motto cannot be printed in a family humor magazine, but feel free to ask about it if you see me on the street.

This issue is about Boston, which is to say it’s not really about Boston at all. It’s about telling a man holding a daguerreotype camera to back up a little farther—a little farther—a little farther—until he trips and falls but is big and strong enough not to cry.

But actually: This issue is about a very small stream of the most refreshing water you have ever drunk, but it is coming out of Mannekin Pis. You think that it was probably a mistake to touch your mouth to the statue.

But, more actually: This issue is about an antique urn that sits somewhere. Whose it was cannot be said, nor when the urn was purchased first, nor whether someone’s ashes lie inside. What can be said is that a dog is humping the urn. Me? I get tired doing jumping jacks.